TEFL Classroom Games: Hide A Word

coking150.jpgIt can be a challenge to find games which are both useful and fun for higher level learners that involve speaking fluency. I am eternally grateful to the Inside Out series orienting me to “Hide a Word”. It’s very possible this activity originated elsewhere and/or is used widely outside of this particular text book but this is where I first heard of it.

You provide slips of paper with one common, fairly everyday use word on each. Students can work in teams or individually/in pairs. If they are in teams, one representative from each team gets up to sit with another team. Each team gives the their representative a topic to speak on (the weather, movies, a news story, rivers in this city) of their choice. The representative takes a slip of paper, and must speak about that topic for one minute, and mention the word on the paper during that minute. If the team can guess the word, the team gets a point, if they can’t, the representative’s team gets a point. The representative needs to be good at turning the topic to the word or in slipping it into a relevant comment about the given topic – and doing this on the spot, without much planning.

Of course there needs to be some level of playing by the spirit of the rules – by not giving totally off the wall topics on the teams’ parts, and by not speaking wildly off topic on the representatives’ parts. Usually it works, if only because people are just not that creative coming up with topics.

The concept of the game – you set a topic that I have to talk about using a secret word and you have to guess the word – is a little confusing, so I usually model an example first. Most people I’ve done this with enjoy it; it seems a good way to practice speaking fluency because people are very focused on the content of the “speeches” without dwelling on the grammar.